The Review “System”

If you’ve read any of The Mental Attic’s reviews, you may have noticed they don’t follow your typical rating systems. There are no numbers, stars, hearts or even brains; instead, there’s only a single phrase and some finishing thoughts.

Gaming scores are meant to tell you if you should pay full price for the title. TV & Film reviews will tell you if you should invest your precious time on them. RPGs are a special case and do have numeric scores, but read on to find out why!

  • Oh Hell No!! – This is the lowest possible score a game can get. These are your offensive games, the ones so bad, playing them is considered a human rights violation in some places. These are your “Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude” and Superman 64s, games that should never have been made, and there’s a special place in hell for everyone involved in their development. The name for this score comes from comedian Gabriel Iglesias and his “6 Levels of Fatness” joke.

  • Not worth the money – These are bad games, really bad. These are they games you’ll rent just to see how terrible they are, or you’ll get them for free in another bundle, but you will never, consciously and without duress, buy them for yourself, even at a discounted price! These are most of your film adaptation games, and of course, famous train-wrecks like Duke Nukem Forever, Daikatana and Sleeping Dogs.
  • Wait for a Sale – These games aren’t necessarily bad, but they have too many flaws to be good. They can be moderately entertaining or even a bit interesting, but someone messed up somewhere along the way and the result is no way in hell what you expected. These are your Dracula 1 & 2 and Night of the Rabbit, good but extremely flawed games.
  • Worth Buying! – While these games aren’t perfect and may have an abundant number of flaws to them, the good parts outweigh the bad. These games are close to having it all, but were either rushed to the shelves, had some atrocious voice acting, lacked some critical Quality Assurance, or had a very good idea very badly implemented. These are your Elder Scrolls games, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, and more recently, Batman Origins and Deadpool.
  • Worth Overpaying! – These are the Master Class of games, the ones that have it all, the complete package. They might have flaws, but they’re so minuscule compared to the things they do right, they’re worth whatever money people ask for it. These are the games that will someday become classics. This is Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers,Xenoblade Chronicles, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Final Fantasy VI and Assassin’s Creed 2.
Film & TV
  • Oh Hell No!! – These films should never have been made. The person to make the pitch to the studios should’ve been physically punished for them. These are your Uwe Boll films and the Mario Bros. adaptation. To make the point come across even better than with Fluffy, here’s Chi McBride explaining it:

  • There are better ways to waste an hour. – These series aren’t horrendously bad, but they’re not good either. They have too many issues across the board to recommend to anyone. Once Upon a Time in Wonderland and Tomorrow People fall into this category.
  • Worth Watching! – These are damn good shows. The quality may dip once or twice or even during whole story arcs, but overall writing and acting is very strong. Marvel’s Agents of Shield and Persons of Interest fall into this category.
  • Worth Having! – These are the best offerings of any given season, or any given year. These films and series are so good they’re worth purchasing on DVD/Bluray as soon as they hit the shelves. The Blacklist, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and others fall into this category.
Tabletop Roleplaying Games

For RPGs, since their quality is much more subjective and can vary from game to game and group to group, we don’t give a score like those above. Instead, basing ourselves on everything from the system itself to the material available to even the game’s community, you’ll find these in each review:

  • Player Learning Curve: How difficult, on a scale of 1 to 10, it is the game to learn to play. The higher the number, the harder it is to have a firm grasp on the rules.
  • GM Learning Curve: How difficult, on a scale of 1 to 10, it is to learn to run a game. While you’d think this number would be the same as the previous one, more often than not learning to run a game can be harder if the system doesn’t provide enough guidelines for newcomers. Anything from NPC creation guidelines to detailed descriptions to help the storytelling can affect the curve score.

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